Wednesday, March 09, 2011

A400M Production To Begin; Revised Deal Still Awaits Approval

LONDON - Airbus Military has launched series production of the A400M even though two of the partner nations have not signed off on a revised deal to build the airlifter.
Airbus said the first four A400Ms are scheduled for delivery in 2012 with production being ramped up to 2.5 a month by the end of 2015. (Lionel Bonaventure / AFP)
Reporting its results for 2010, EADS, Airbus Military's parent company, said the final details on the export levy facility still had to be resolved with Britain and Turkey, but that it had approved the start of production.
The export levy is part of a multibillion euro rescue package agreed to last November by the seven nations collaborating on the much-delayed A400M program. The levy would provide funds up front for the program in exchange for the payment of royalties on exports. In a statement announcing its results, EADS said that "following the approval of the program in France and Germany, negotiations on the export levy facility scheme are to be finalized with some customer nations and are targeted for completion this year."
A spokeswomen for Airbus Military said the agreement with Britain and Turkey was "on the verge of being finalized, it is not an issue."
Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey have been involved in developing and building the A400M since 2003. Including an export order for Malaysia, Airbus holds orders for 174 of the aircraft being built at the company's factory in Seville, Spain.
Airbus said the first four aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2012 with production being ramped up to 2.5 machines a month by the end of 2015.
Civil certification is due this year and Airbus said in a statement it expected to hand over the first A400M to the French Air Force by early 2013.
Airbus Military reported increased revenues last year of 2.68 billion euros ($3.74 billion) compared with 2.23 billion euros the previous year. The military arm of the civil airliner business also delivers A330 MRTT tanker aircraft as well as the smaller C212, CN235 and C295 airlifters.
Earlier this month, the company lost a huge deal to equip the U.S. Air Force with a new tanker when it was beaten to the post by Boeing.

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